The United States of America

Leif Erikson
The Viking Leif Erikson discovered America

Christopher Columbus came to America in 1492, but he was not the first European who discovered America. In 1001 AD, Leif Erikson, a Viking from Scandinavia, was the first European to discover the New World. A Viking named Bjarni Hergelfson had sailed the oceans for years and when he came back from his journey he told Leif that he had seen land west of Greenland. Leif Erikson became very interested and some years later he bought Bjarni's boat and followed the sailing directions Bjarni gave him.

In the summer of 1001 AD, Leif Erikson and his men first came to Baffin Island in Canada. A couple of days later he came to what is today L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. Leif Erikson and his men built some houses and started to explore the land. At one time the men found grapes and Leif gave the land the name Vinland (Swedish), which means Wineland. In the spring, Leif and his men sailed to Greenland, to the viking colony Brattahlid. Leif settled there and never returned to "Vinland".

A couple of years later Leif's brother Thorvald sailed to "Vinland". For two years he and his men explored the new land. He and many of his men were killed by Indians and it is believed that he was buried in a place the Vikings called Crossness, todays Hampton, New Hampshire.

Nearly 500 years later, in October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered Bahamas.

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